The Compass Rose Analysis

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The Compass Rose, a collection of short stories by Ursula K. Le Guin, was published in 1982, at the height of the postmodernist movement. Like the modernists, postmodernists believed in unadulterated self-expression. They, too, were unbound by classic literary conventions; however, a majority of modernists were driven by political rebellion and their art was a direct reflection of that. Postmodernists, on the other hand, were less concerned about political activism and more skeptical of any concrete system. They were neither completely for nor against anything in particular, but chose to look at things with an open mind and from many different points of view. Le Guin demonstrates her ability to entertain beliefs other than her own in her short…show more content…
The world is in complete disarray. People are literally falling to pieces, and objects and time have begun to move very fast. The narrator’s age or gender is never revealed, but let us use the feminine tense for simplicity’s sake. She is not scared by the changes to the universe, suggesting that they have gradually happened over a long period of time; however, she does seem very confused. She has writer’s block and cannot figure out why she is grieving or why a certain musical instantly note brings her to tears. The narrator tells her readers that the world has become increasingly hot, to the point that “a kiss was like a branding iron” and “your child’s hair flowed along your hand like fire.” Scientists have been trying to understand what is happening, but it seems to defy all reason. The only explanation is that the heat is being produced by a supernatural force. The narrator references the Bible on several occasions so she may believe that the world is being pulled down into the depths of Hell. As the narrator sits in her bewildered state, a large, stray tabby comes and jumps into her lap. This cat seems to represent a celestial being. It does not emit the hellish heat, and it is shockingly graceful. “There was a lazy fluidity to his leap, as if gravity affected him less than it does other creatures.” Since the cat’s arrival, time seems to have slowed to a normal pace and the narrator becomes increasingly more

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